ESA and severe asthma - universal credit nightmare!

Hi everyone,

I was diagnosed with severe asthma before Xmas as my asthma has been getting worse over the past few years, I actually lost two jobs in that time due to asthma absences (they made me redundant but I was the only one who lost my job...)

So I have been claiming Universal Credit while unemployed and have tried to apply for ESA as I'm virtually housebound due to my asthma. First I was told last year by someone from the DWP "ESA doesn't exist anymore if you're on UC", the second time I tried again and was sent a letter saying my application had been sent to UC and heard nothing.

I applied again in Oct and after months of stalling by the jobcentre it seems there is an appointment in the post. Meanwhile I am still being treated as a "normal" ie. fit for work jobseeker despite the fact i'm sending in sick notes. I feel like they are basically stalling me as they don't want to give me ESA. Has anyone else had an experience like this, I feel like I am being punished for having asthma, despite telling them about the Equality Act it doesn't seem to cut any ice.

7 Replies

Hi. The BLF helpline may have someone you can talk to about benefits. Why not give them a call? 03000 030 555 during office hours.

great, thank you!

Hi just found some info online for you. I put this on your other post in the asthma group.

thanks :)

I sugest you need some letters from your gp and your specialist descrbing your condition as supporting evidence. I got esa just by filling on a form and including my retirement on grounds of ill health. I hope you get it sorted soon

Hi there,

I have bronchiectasis and asthma

Ring the Dwp and tell them you want to apply for ESA.

It's a form and interview,you have every right to apply and have your case sound like you need to be off the universal credit anyway..but you can't claim both if thats what they meant.

Good luck

Hi thanks for your reply, I thought I'd update people on what happened as this may help other Universal Credit claimants.

ESA no longer exists in its usual form if you are single and live in a UC area but is called New ESA and is incorporated into UC. This is rather confusing as many sources of help (charities, certain benefits websites) still refer to the old ESA process, where you ring Jobcentre Plus and do the assessment over the phone. With UC, I was sent a form after I lodged a complaint with the DWP as I kept being referred (wrongly) to the old ESA process (see my initial post), and they took it from there and it took ages to make a decision (about 8 months.)

So it is mostly the same process with a different name, though thankfully I didn't need to go for an assessment, my GP wrote me a very helpful report and they just used that to put me in the support group (not fit for work or work-related activities.) So a big weight off my mind but this "new" ESA does seem to be causing confusion among different branches of the DWP as UC has not been fully rolled out across the UK and for all claimants.

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